web analytics
February 1, 2015 / 12 Shevat, 5775
 
At a Glance
News & Views
Sponsored Post


Ed Koch: Fiercely Jewish But Buried in a Churchyard

He explained at the time that he could not bear the idea that his body would have to leave New York City. "This is my home, the idea of having to go to New Jersey was so distressing to me."
EdKochTombstone

It was spookily ironic that former New York City mayor Ed Koch died on the anniversary of the death of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, when Koch had long ago chosen to have etched on his headstone the final words of Daniel Pearl, spoken just before Muslim terrorists beheaded him.

On Koch’s headstone, beneath a Mogen David, are the words:

“My father is Jewish, my mother is Jewish, I am Jewish.”

No one could doubt the pride in his religion, but following his funeral at Manhattan’s Temple Emanu-El, Koch’s remains were buried in a plot outside the Episcopalian Trinity Church in the Washington Heights neighborhood of New York City.

As Mayor Bloomberg noted, “Just think about it, a Polish Jew, in an Episcopalian Churchyard, in a largely Dominican neighborhood.”

Koch bought his burial plot in 2008, when the Trinity Churchyard was the only cemetery in Manhattan that still had plots available.  He explained at the time that he could not bear the idea that his body would have to leave New York City.  “This is my home, the idea of having to go to New Jersey was so distressing to me.”

In addition to quoting Daniel Pearl’s last words, Ed Koch chose the words for the rest of the inscription on the support stone of his tombstone.  It reads:

He was fiercely proud of his Jewish faith. He fiercely defended the City of New York, and he fiercely loved its people. Above all, he loved his country, the United States of America, in whose armed forces he served in World War II.

Above that, on the tombstone itself, is the first line of the Shema.

Hear O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is One.

It is highly unorthodox for a Jew to be buried in a churchyard, but the greatest concern is the sanctity of the individual graves, not the cemetery. Some rabbis believe it to be permissible if, surrounding the plot containing the Jewish remains, there is an enclosure or physical barrier about 40 inches high, thereby effectively creating a separate cemetery.

About the Author: Lori Lowenthal Marcus is the US correspondent for The Jewish Press. She is a recovered lawyer who previously practiced First Amendment law and taught in Philadelphia-area graduate and law schools.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

13 Responses to “Ed Koch: Fiercely Jewish But Buried in a Churchyard”

  1. Les Legato says:

    Hot tip for Koch wannabes – Jews don't put the tombstone up the same day of burial – we wait 11-12 months (Read "The Jewish Way in Death and Mourning" and/or CYLOR).

  2. Samuel Abbo says:

    LET PUT IT THIS WAY: LOVE THY NEIGHBOR(S) AS THEYSELF. YOU DESERVE IT ED. PLEASE DOn't FORGET US WHEREVER YOU ARE.

  3. Barb Adelman Seidman says:

    There are four additional botoughs in NYC, each eith Jewish cemeteries.

  4. But none like this one! This one is very close to the Subway and has easy access to it! As Koch says he wants everyone to be able to visit him any time they want to!

  5. I feel saddened by this news. In all of NYC there was no Jewish cemeteries that Ed Koch could have been buried in. I find that hard to believe! I always thought a lot of Ed Koch will he was alive. He was a tower of strength to the people of New York in those dark days after the towers came down. I have to say I am a little disappointed in his reasons for not being buried in a Jewish Cemetery. However he was a good man though.

  6. Lynne Marton says:

    He still thought of the people first! I have always admired him – and now, even though he chose an unorthodox burial, he's still #1!

  7. Charlie Hall says:

    Minor quibble: The graveyard is indeed in the largely Dominican neighborhood of Washington Heights, and is indeed run by Trinity Church, but the actual Trinity Church is in lower Manhattan, so Mayor Koch is not just "outside the church" but over ten miles away. The Church does not run it as a Christian cemetery but (obviously) allows anyone to be buried there. I think it is the only cemetery of any type in Manhattan that has any gravesites available.

  8. Charlie Hall says:

    Not true; there are no Jewish cemeteries in the Bronx. The largest synagogues in the Bronx control large blocks of gravesites at a cemetary in New Jersey.

  9. Charlie Hall says:

    That said, while Washington Heights is a mostly Dominican neighborhood, it is also home to Yeshiva University, several Orthodox synagogues, and several yeshivot.

  10. Charlie Hall says:

    There still are three Jewish cemeteries in Manhattan, all maintained by Shearith Israel, the oldest Jewish congregation in North America. I think all three were full by the 1850s and SI now has a graveyard in Brooklyn. There were other Jewish cemeteries in Manhattan, but the lure of dollars was too great; they were sold, and the bodies disinterred and reburied elsewhere.

  11. Amy Siegel says:

    Yes, I thought the same thing! Typical Manhattan snobbery not to want to go to the outer boros!

  12. Miles W. Rich says:

    My mother is interred in the mausoleum in that cemetery. There are a lot of Jews buried there, including my mother. Like Ed Koch, she loved Manhattan and did not want to leave there. In fact, had she had control of where she died, she never would have chosen the Bronx.

  13. Miles W. Rich says:

    They are NOT in Manhattan. To the people of Manhattan, the Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn, and Richmond are NOT NY.

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Japanese freelance journalist Kenji Goto at work with children. Goto was captured in Syria Oct. 25, 2014 and murdered by ISIS on Saturday, Jan. 31, 2015.
US Condemns ISIS ‘Vicious’ Beheading of Kenjo Goto
Latest News Stories
Carl Djerassi

Carl Djerassi’s research led to the invention of oral birth control pills.

Japanese freelance journalist Kenji Goto at work with children. Goto was captured in Syria Oct. 25, 2014 and murdered by ISIS on Saturday, Jan. 31, 2015.

The US promptly condemned the “vicious” beheading of Japanese journalist Kenji Goto on Saturday, noting its “own experience” with “this pain.”

The United States condemned Iran for honoring Hezbollah terrorist Imad Mughniyeh but is not so bothered when Abbas honors PA terrorists.

The Washington Post reports the CIA and Mossad collaborated on the 2007 murder in Damascus of the Hezbollah terror group’s No. 2 leader.

Kenji Goto Execution

ISIS released a video showing the beheading of Japanese hostage Kenji Goto.

PM Binyamin Netanyahu says it’s easier to deal with a procedural problem than resolving a nuclear threat.

An IDF force killed an Arab terrorist attacking motorists Saturday night near Yitzhar in Samaria.

Egypt bans and names Hamas as terrorist organization, Hamas says Egypt no longer broker between it and Israel

V15′s Bird was marinated in his former boss’s hatred of and blame-only Israel mindset.

Palestinian Authority child soldiers – a crime against humanity.

Maybe, just maybe, the new generation of terrorists will one day turn their guns on their oppressors in Gaza.

The White House explains that Taliban is not a terrorist group — it is an “armed insurgency.”

The US in November stopped funding a left-wing group that is helping to campaign against Netanyahu

Super Bowl viewers will have to get along with Scarlett Johansson this year.

Cruz and New York Rep. Zeldin complained to Kerry of Obama’s “relentless harassment.”

A Shin Bet sting nabs Arab Israelis after returning from Syria where they join Al Qaeda and ISIS-linked terror groups — a whole group this month.

That’s it. If you didn’t register your party by now, you’re not running for the upcoming Knesset elections.

More Articles from Lori Lowenthal Marcus
A poster in Gaza showing Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi and Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, shortly after Morsi's election in 2012.

Egypt bans and names Hamas as terrorist organization, Hamas says Egypt no longer broker between it and Israel

Jeremy Bird, working for Israeli campaign outfit V15, shown at Ted Talk, May 20, 2014.

V15′s Bird was marinated in his former boss’s hatred of and blame-only Israel mindset.

Simultaneous explosions in Egypt killed and wounded dozens Thursday night.

ISIS threatens to behead Obama, turn the U.S. into a Muslim province, and destroy France and Belgium.

One American, a former Marine, dead in ISIS-affiliate’s terrorist attack on Libyan luxury hotel.

Chicago-style campaigning lands in Israel. Who and what is running this “non-partisan” campaign? Paging Lois Lerner!

Reports that Bowe Bergdahl to be charged with desertion. Five Gitmo prisoners released for his freedom.

Ari Ne’eman, a pioneer in autism self-advocacy, awarded the Ruderman Prize in Inclusion.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/ed-koch-fiercely-jewish-but-buried-in-a-churchyard/2013/02/05/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: